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Are Your Products Worth the Wait? Use Smarter Access Control and POS for a Speedy Customer Experience 

Date: Mar 20 2024
Read Time: 6 minutes

Understanding customer behavior is key to success in retail—even with the greatest product, providing lackluster service can leave customers headed to your competitors. Every aspect of the shopping experience, from the layout of the store to the ease of the checkout process, influences a customer’s decision to make a purchase. One critical aspect that often is overlooked is the amount of time customers are willing to wait for assistance from a store associate to unlock products. Some hold ups like supply chain issues may be out of your control, but in-store, the integration of proper point of sale (POS) systems and access controls can significantly expedite the shopping process, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

The Importance of Prompt Assistance 

Convenience is king. Customers expect prompt and efficient service when shopping in retail stores. We polled over 100 shoppers, nearly 60% are willing to wait only 1-5 minutes for associate assistance when shopping. Once a customer has received the product, they’re willing to wait only slightly longer to checkout (around 10-15 minutes). However, the amount of time they are willing to wait for assistance can vary significantly based on factors such as the type of store, the complexity of their needs, and even cultural norms. 

Research indicates that when customers encounter products that are locked up and require assistance to access, they may opt to purchase a similar item from the same store (the popularity of off-brands has risen dramatically since the end of 2022), seek out the product elsewhere, either in another physical store or online, or ultimately abandon the purchase altogether. This underscores the critical importance for retailers to optimize their staffing and inventory management to ensure that customers get assistance in 5 minutes or less.  

Why are Shoppers So Impatient? 

Almost 90% of shoppers reported having to wait in a line a handful of times each month, and almost 70% of shoppers say they feel impatient, bored, and even disrespected when they must queue for a product. Why is everyone so impatient? There is a plethora of reasons for the switch, but technological advancements and COVID are two major reasons for the shift.  

The way we consume information has changed thanks to social media. Everything is presented in “shorts,” or very small attention-grabbing increments. During COVID, when we were all sequestered, services like same-day delivery and parking lot pick-up led us to expect that products show up right at our door or car quickly in just a few clicks. 

If we’ve grown so accustomed to service when we want it, then what are we as shoppers willing to wait for? The answer is well, almost nothing. Logically, you would think essentials like food and baby items would top the list, but there are plenty of stores where you can buy things like milk, bread, and baby formula. Items that receive a lot of “hype” around them are typically what customers will queue for. Think of a PlayStation 5, surprise drops from a luxury brand, “special edition” sneakers, a Valentine’s Day Stanley Cup, etc. Major brands can manufacture a frenzy by labeling something “limited,” but for most retailers, this doesn’t exactly work if you don’t have the name and brand loyalty behind you.  

Speed Up the Shopping Process with POS Systems 

A tailored Point of Sale (POS) system is the backbone of any retail operation. It not only facilitates transactions but also plays a crucial role in streamlining the overall shopping experience. Modern POS systems like the NE150 Convertible POS Tablet Stand offer a myriad of features designed to expedite the shopping and checkout process and enhance customer satisfaction.  

One critical aspect is the capability to swiftly assist customers through mobile functionality with our convertible POS solutions. With the ability to use any tablet and operating system, and flexible payment options, customers can efficiently finalize their purchases with minimal inconvenience. Additionally, our POS solutions facilitate streamlined inventory management, ensuring product availability and minimizing the risk of out-of-stock scenarios. 

For example, the right POS will alert you when something is out of stock or low in stock. For out-of-stock items, you could put up signage to let a customer know immediately, direct them to similar products in-store, or have an associate collect their information so you can send them personalized “back in stock” alerts. This way, even if a customer doesn’t make a purchase with you that day, they’re still a lead that you can contact down the road instead of turning them away altogether without a resolution. Tip: Customers are willing to wait 1-3 days for items through delivery. You can offer services to ship directly to their front door when an item becomes available again.   

Access Control: Enhancing Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction 

Access control systems like InVue’s Smart Locks and OneKEY solution heighten retail store security while expediting customer assistance. With OneKEY, store associates swiftly unlock displays or cabinets, reducing wait times and enhancing the shopping experience. This efficient access ensures prompt customer assistance, boosting satisfaction levels. 

With OneKEY, simplicity reigns supreme. Associates wield the power of a single key to unlock any secured product, ensuring a seamless shopping journey. For instance, in a local big box store, a trusted employee can effortlessly retrieve secure headphones from the electronics section and then swiftly obtain essential items like baby formula, without the need to involve multiple staff members. 

Using mKEY access alongside Smart Locks streamlines employee workflows and enhances convenience. This innovative solution empowers staff to unlock products swiftly using their personal or store-issued devices, eliminating the hassle of manual keys. By leveraging Smart Locks technology, employees streamline the retrieval process, ensuring seamless customer assistance and optimizing operational effectiveness in the retail environment. This approach drastically reduces wait times and frustration for customers, preventing scenarios like the notorious 40-minute waits for baby formula in the tri-state area. 

The Future of Retail: The Faster the Better 

As retail evolves, seamless integration becomes crucial. Combining efficient POS systems and advanced access control solutions can significantly reduce customer wait times. Understanding customer habits and leveraging technology is essential. Prioritize prompt assistance and integrated solutions for a seamless shopping experience. Contact InVue now to learn more and speed up your customer service!